New Delhi: As part of country`s look east policy, President Pratibha Patil will embark on a week-long visit of Korea and Mongolia from tomorrow to further bilateral relations with both the nations.
Patil will be visiting Korea between July 24-26 and Mongolia from July 27-30.
Korea with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of about USD one trillion is spread in about 99,327 square km area, approximately 12 percent larger than West Bengal, and has
48.7 million population.
The country has a per capita income of USD 20,000 and is surrounded by China to the east and north, North Korea to the north and Japan to the east and south. The trade between India and Korea has touched the mark of USD 17 billion in 2010.
Korea is home to various Information Technology companies and home appliances giants including LG, Samsung and Daewoo among others.
New Delhi`s strategic relationship with Seoul was cemented following South Korean President Lee Myung-bak`s strategic visit here in January 2010. He was also the chief
guest during the Republic Day celebration last year.
A Joint Task Force is functional to conclude a bilateral Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which was signed in 2009 and came in force from January last year, to
explore avenues and boost trade ties among others.
The President will also strongly pitch for civil nuclear cooperation with her Korean counterpart during the visit.
The Indian community in Seoul is estimated to be about 8,000 and over 1,000 IT professionals or engineers are working in Korea. Besides, about 500 Indian scientists or post-doctoral research scholars are working in that country.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had in October last year met Korean President in East Asian Summit in Hanoi and again in November 2010 when he went to Seoul to attend G-20 meet.
After upgrading Ambassador-level relations in 1973, Seoul endeavours towards political liberalisation and democratisation have boosted relations with New Delhi by creating a common ground with India`s own economic liberalisation and Look East Policy.
An Indian Cultural Centre has also been established in Korea in April this year.
Apart from holding talks with her counterpart, Patil will meet business delegates to further mutual relations.
She will also pay floral tributes at the statue of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore in Seoul on the occasion of his 150th birth anniversary. The statue was inaugurated by Lok
Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar during her visit to that country in May this year.
Patil`s visit to Mongolia is aimed at finding new avenues to explore trade and cultural relationship with tie ups in Defence, Information Technology, trade and commerce.
Mongolia is spread in 1.565 million square km and has a population of about 2.7 million according to 2010 estimate.
About 92 per cent of the population in the country follows Buddhism. Mongolia shares its border with China and Russia and has a GDP of USD 6.6 billion.
India exports pharma products, veterinary medicines, automobiles and its parts to Mongolia and the trade between the two nation has touched USD 16.9 million.
Mongolia has established free trade zones on its border points with China and Russia and is pursuing the policy of attracting foreign investments and considered as Most Favoured
Patil will be the first Indian President to visit Mongolia after a gap of 23 years.
During her visit, Patil will meet President Ts Elbedorj and women politicos there. She will also pay homage at a statue of Mahatma Gandhi, installed in 2006.
Mongolian President had in September 2009 visited India and signed several mutual agreements for comprehensive partnership.
The visit also seeks to explore ties for providing assistance in exploration of mines as Mongolia is a mineral rich country and holds vast scope in mining sectors.
Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Mahadev Singh Khandela, Parliamentarians Manikrao Gavit, Sushila Tiriya, OT Lepcha and senior officials from MEA will be accompanying